IHG points expire: Keep them alive with these 11 tips
Don’t let those IHG points you earned on your last vacation quietly expire. There are strategies to keep them alive even if you don’t have immediate plans for travel.
A little attention to your IHG account and a few strategic purchases can keep your account active. Otherwise, you’ll lose all of your IHG points if your account is inactive — with no earning or redeeming activity — for 12 months.
You can earn InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) points easily with a welcome bonus from cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. And now’s an especially good time to do so because it’s offering an all-time-high 140,000 IHG points bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. With the increased welcome offer it ranks as one of the top hotel credit cards.
There are plenty of other ways to keep your IHG points from expiring, too. Here’s how:
How to keep your IHG account active
Your IHG points expire 12 months after the last activity (earning or redeeming) on your account. There are many ways to reset the expiration clock.
Stay at IHG hotels
Whether you earn points from a paid stay or redeem points for an award night, staying at an IHG hotel counts as activity and keeps your points alive for another 12 months.
IHG-brand hotels include:
- avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Hotel Indigo
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
You won’t earn IHG points on a paid stay unless you book directly with IHG. Reservations made through third-party sites like Orbitz or Expedia will not earn points and won’t count as activity to reset your expiration.
Use an IHG credit card
Earning points from the welcome bonus and spending on IHG credit cards is an easy way to keep your IHG account active. You’ve got two options for cards that earn IHG points directly:
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is your best bet of the two. It’s currently offering an increased 140,000-point bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Most recently the welcome offer was for just 80,000 IHG points.
Status keeps your points active. With the Chase IHG Premier, you’ll get automatic IHG Platinum elite status. And if you have any level of IHG elite status, your points will not expire. So you don’t have to worry about spending to keep your points active (for 12 months).
Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG
IHG is a Chase transfer partner, so you can move Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum transfer amount of 1,000 points. Transfers are usually instant, so this is as easy way to show activity in your account and keep your IHG points from expiring.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners if you have any of the following cards:
If you have any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards mentioned above, you can combine points from these no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards and move them to IHG as well:
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
I don’t usually recommend transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG unless you’re just a few points shy of an award stay. You’ll almost always get more value by moving points to other airline and hotel partners like United Airlines or Hyatt.
Buy IHG points
If you’re stuck, you can buy IHG points to generate some activity in your account and keep your points from expiring.
The minimum purchase amount is 1,000 IHG points, which costs ~$14 including taxes. Occasionally, there are transfer bonuses, and you’re limited to purchasing a maximum of 100,000 IHG points per year.
Earn IHG points with IHG Rewards Club Dining
When you register any credit or debit card (it doesn’t have to be an IHG card) on the IHG Rewards Club Dine & Earn site and use that card to pay for a meal at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn IHG points.
It’s a great way to double-dip because you’ll still earn rewards from your card (for example, if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2x points on dining) on top of earning IHG points. And it’s easy to search for nearby restaurants by city, state or zip code.
If you’re new to IHG Rewards Club, you can currently earn 1,000 IHG points when you spend $30 or more at a participating restaurant within 30 days of enrolling. And you’ll also earn:
- 1x IHG point per $1 spent if you don’t opt in for email communications
- 5x IHG points per $1 spent if you opt in for email and dine up to 10 times per year
- 8x IHG points per $1 spent if you opt in for email and dine 11+ times per year
Rent a car
When you make a Hertz rental car booking through IHG’s website, you’ll get discounts and earn 1,500 bonus IHG points for your rental, plus up to an additional 500 IHG points per day.
Dollar and Thrifty rentals are also included – you’ll earn 125 IHG points per day. The terms don’t say how long it will take for your points to post to your IHG account, so I wouldn’t count on this method if you’re close to expiration.
Before you book, it’s best to compare rates with other car rental sites to ensure you’re getting a good price.
Earn IHG Points with transport services
You can book private airport transfers, shuttle buses and more through IHG and earn bonus IHG points for your purchase.
The terms say it can take four to six weeks for IHG points to credit to your account. Shop around for pricing as well.
Book a tour or activity
IHG’s tours and activities website has dozens of options for vacation fun: dinner cruises, private tours, helicopter rides and foodie experiences. You’ll earn 1,000 IHG points when you book.
Read the fine print because many of these activities are non-refundable. These bookings will likely take some time for the points to appear in your IHG account.
Buy Apple products
If you’re in the market for a new computer or phone, you can currently earn 4x IHG points per $1 spent when you shop at Apple through the IHG link.
Once you’ve enrolled with the email address associated with your IHG account, you’ll be redirected to the Apple Store. When you purchase eligible products (there are some restrictions on type and quantity) and the return period has passed (typically 30 days), you’ll receive your bonus IHG points.
Transfer or receive IHG points
You’ve got a couple of methods for transferring IHG points to generate activity in your account to reset your points expiration:
- Transfer IHG points to a friend or family member
- Receive a transfer of IHG points from a friend or family member
- Transfer IHG points to airline partners
When you transfer or receive IHG points, both parties will extend their point expiration date. You can transfer a minimum of 1,000 IHG points (with no maximum limit). Each 1,000-point transfer costs $5.
It can take up to 72 hours for a transfer to take effect, so keep that in mind if you’re really close to your points expiration date.
You can also transfer IHG points to airline partners like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, but this is rarely a good deal. With most airlines, you’ll earn 2,000 airline miles for every 10,000 IHG points you transfer, which is not good value.
Plus, you’ll have to call IHG to make the transfer, and it takes four to six weeks to show on your account.
Shop with IHG points
Another quick way to extend the life of your IHG points is by spending them on merchandise through the IHG Rewards Club Catalog or redeeming them for Digital Rewards. Although it’s usually not a good idea to use points for merchandise this is an easy way to reset your IHG points expiration date.
For example, I’m seeing e-book downloads for just 150 IHG points. That’s not much of an expense to keep your points balance alive.
IHG points expire after 12 months if there is no earning or redeeming activity on your account. But there’s no reason to let this happen. There are lots of ways to generate activity in your account and keep your IHG points from expiring: stay at an IHG hotel, using the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, buy IHG points, earn bonus IHG points for Apple purchases, rent a car and more.
It’s a great time to consider opening the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card because you’ll earn 140,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Here’s our review of the Chase IHG Premier Credit Card.